July 24, 2020

I HANG MY HEAD IN DESPAIR FOR MY PROFESSION: So I’m reading along in Roll Call reporter Jennifer Shutt’s story today on House passage of four spending bills that have little or no chance of passage in the Senate. It’s all the usual legislative blah-blah about billions in this bill, more billions in that one, amendments accepted, amendments defeated, growing concerns, etc. etc.

Then I read the last sentence: “There’s also broad frustration about the Trump administration’s decision to send federal officers, dressed in military-style uniforms, to Portland and Chicago to confront mostly peaceful protestors.” (Emphasis added).

How does such a falsehood make it into a news report presented as a credible, factual account of events on Capitol Hill? Perhaps (and it’s so faint a possibility as to be nearly invisible) Shutt has been too busy to watch any of the countless videos of sustained, organized and increasingly lethal Antifa/BLM violence directed against federal officers and property in Portland and Chicago.

But why didn’t one of her editors catch that glaring error? Has nobody on Roll Call’s copy desk seen the violence? It’s hard not to conclude that this is a disgusting illustration of left-wing narrative presented as credible news journalism. Worst of all, it’s likely the approach she learned in j-school.

I’m old enough to remember when writing a falsehood like that in a story draft more than once would get you canned because every news organization realized its most precious asset was its credibility with readers.

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